The Canonization of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
A meaningful adventure with a thousand others who love her
Mother Teresa loved to say, “Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile”. Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer. – Pope Francis at the Canonization of Saint Mother Teresa
Saint Mother Teresa is one human being who has walked the Earth and has touched the hearts of so many. As cliché as it may sound, I, together with a thousand other souls am the biggest fan of the one and only, Mother Teresa.
When I was in high school, I came across her saying, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”. As a community development worker, this is the quote that I turn to in tough times. When I feel that what we do may never be enough, I use her words as motivation. Another one of her best words that I am inspired by is the saying “sometimes what we feel we’re doing is just a single drop in the ocean, but without that single drop it couldn’t create ripples”. The lessons, love, and inspiration she has left are indeed countless.
Mother Teresa was called a living saint, helping countless people around the world. One could even say that she received the most awards and recognitions to note in history, and yet remained the most humble person on earth. With every recognition, she would always say, “it is His work.”
Last September 4, 2016 was a special day for it was her canonization. As a huge fan, I tried my best to attend this once in a lifetime event. As crazy as it may seem, this idea only started when I asked my friend in Rome to fax a letter I wrote to the Vatican. To my surprise, I was very blessed and received four tickets to the once in a lifetime event. I was so happy that I emailed my friend in Rome so that she could accompany my friends and I. Thinking that I already hit the jackpot, even more blessings poured in. That friend in Rome was a volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity, which allowed us special tickets to the canonization, in the same area the sisters would be in.
I asked everyone dear to me for their prayer intentions because of the blessings the canonization and being together with the whole family of faith brings. I didn’t mind how long they were because I knew Mother Teresa together with Jesus, would be listening anywhere in the world.
At 4:00 AM on the day of the canonization, the first bus I saw was carrying the Philippine flag. The Vatican was already packed with so many pilgrims gathering, waiting for the doors to open at 7:00 AM. It was an amazing sight! People from different countries were everywhere, excited to celebrate the life of one amazing woman. Everyone had different vocations from all over the world but had only one reason for being there. Amidst all the chaos, my favorite sight was a missionary sister who was quietly saying her prayers. For me, this was a reminder to never forget who it is all from and for.
One of the most beautiful teachings of Mother Teresa is how a person could offer little sacrifices and prayers for others through the small things they do, and I was able to see snippets of it on that day in other people present at the event. Despite the scorching summer heat, the early call time and heavy crowds – people showed their love and appreciation for a woman, who in the past century has shaken the world through her heart and example. There were countless rosaries said by the crowd, and for sure, it was just like how Mother Teresa would have wanted it to be.
Pope Francis, along with many priests and bishops celebrated the mass. His message was a very beautiful and simple one stating that we, like Saint Mother Teresa, should be examples of mercy, love and compassion, seeing Jesus in the least of people. He ended with a message: “to the whole world of volunteers: may she be your model of holiness!” Indeed, no matter what kind of volunteer work, may “small things with great love” be always what moves us.
My adventure in the canonization of Saint Mother Teresa was such a big blessing. To witness the event before my own eyes was unbelievable and yet so moving. I think the message and the life of Saint Mother Teresa challenges us to never give up, in everything we do in life, and to never take for granted all the little things that are done with great love.